Brazilian beauty giant and previous owner of The Body Shop Natura &Co’s legal counsel has reached out to new owner Aurelius over unpaid bonuses of former employees, Retail Week can reveal. 

The Body Shop store exterior, Guildford

Natura’s group legal counsel has reached out to The Body Shop’s new private equity owner Aurelius to find out why former employees haven’t received the long-term incentive grants due as part of their severance.

The former employees of the beauty chain were due to be paid their share of Natura’s long-term incentive scheme at the end of January after the firm offloaded the struggling retailer to private equity firm Aurelius last year.

Retail Week understands the obligation to pay employee bonuses transferred from Natura &Co to Aurelius as part of the conditions of the £207m sale.

The funds were managed by Morgan Stanley on behalf of Natura but have disappeared from the app staff used to track the scheme.

Around 20 former Body Shop employees are owed bonuses collectively worth between £2m and £3m. 

Both Natura and Aurelius declined to comment when approached by Retail Week. 

Retail Week reported last week that The Body Shop offloaded its business in “most of mainland Europe and in parts of Asia” to an “international family office” as part of its turnaround strategy for the troubled retailer.

The vegan beauty chain has also seen change across its senior executive team with interim chief executive Ian Bickley stepping down after the new owners took over.  The Body Shop’s UK and Ireland managing, Maddie Smith, is due to leave at the beginning of April.

Founded by pioneering entrepreneur Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop was sold to Aurelius in November after it underperformed in recent years under the control of Natura.

Aurelius also owns fashion and sportswear retailer Footasylum in the UK along with the now-bankrupt healthcare chain Lloydspharmacy